BlizzCon Predictions + New Article

BlizzCon is now less than a month away, and it’s time to once again participate in that most beloved of nerd pastimes: pointless, baseless speculation. I’ve already done my predictions for what the inevitable WoW expansion announcement will bring, so today, I’ll focus on predictions related to their other games.

The official logo for Blizzard EntertainmentThe return of All-Stars:

Other than the next WoW expansion, I think the big news to come from this year’s BlizzCon will be a revamped version of their MOBA, Blizzard All-Stars. I expect that it to now bear name the Heroes of the Storm and be completely revamped from the ground up.

We already know it’s being retooled as a standalone game instead of a mod for StarCraft II. I imagine this means it will get a new and more original graphics style that is more reflective of all Blizzard’s games instead of just SC2, though still using the SC2 engine.

I imagine we’ll get a trailer and some gameplay demos, similar to what they did for the Hearthstone announcement. They’ll break down what makes it different from other MOBAs — probably shorter matches and a lower learning curve — and maybe preview some specific heroes. I, of course, am most curious how Nova will play, eternal Nova fanboy that I am.

The thing I’m most curious about is how its free to play business model will shake out. This is essentially the first time Blizzard has attempted free to play. I’m not counting Hearthstone because CCGs have a pretty standardized business model: sell card packs.

I’m hoping for a cosmetics-only model such as DOTA 2’s, but I could also see them selling heroes like League of Legends.

A sepia tone image featuring Blizzard's game franchises: Warcraft, Starcraft, and DiabloDiablo III: Reaper of Souls

They’ve already announced all the major features for the Diablo expansion, so I imagine they’ll focus on providing more detail on what we already know about. For example, there will probably be a detailed breakdown of the mechanics of the new crusader class.

I also expect a lot of gameplay demos, especially of the new endgame options like loot runs and Nephalem Trials. Maybe a new trailer or two, as well, and there will undoubtedly be some Q&As.

Still, thinking about it, that doesn’t seem like much. I’m rather surprised they’ve already given so much information about Reaper of Souls, honestly. I could hope that there are some earth-shattering announcements they’re keeping secret, but Blizzard doesn’t really do surprises.

The rest:

I don’t think there will be much news about StarCraft II this year. In Blizzard time, Heart of the Swarm was practically released yesterday. It’s probably too soon for there to be any substantive news about Legacy of the Void. At best, we might get some very early and vague previews or a brief teaser trailer.

I’d love to be wrong about this, though. As a Protoss player, I’m very much looking forward to LotV. My life for Aiur!

The new training mode in Starcraft 2I haven’t been following Hearthstone that closely, so I’m not sure what BlizzCon will mean for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we got a release date announcement, but that’s the only prediction I have.

Titan’s development has recently been rebooted, so the odds of hearing anything about it are pretty darn slim. We will be forced to wait a bit longer to learn about it, I fear.

One thing I’ll be very interested to see is if there is anything about the Warcraft movie. Might they announce the stars, give us a tease of a plot, or even show a short trailer like the one at ComicCon? I can only hope so.

What of you? What are your predictions for this year’s BlizzCon?

New article:

My latest contribution to WhatMMO is Top 6 MMO Motivations. What about you? What keeps you logging in to your favourite MMO, day after day?

2 thoughts on “BlizzCon Predictions + New Article

  1. I’m sure there will be a big splash about Hearthstone with a solid release date. They’ve already got an invitational lined up and probably a bunch of other promotional stuff so I would be surprised if Hearthstone wasn’t front row center.

    I strongly suspect (equip /tinfoil hat) that the “reboot” for Titan is actually a code word for restructuring the game to be F2P. We’ve been hearing about Titan long before the F2P model took over the game world so Titan probably started development as a “regular” game or sub.

    I’ll bet my Murkalot that what they have already won’t change – assets/game play etc. – they’ll just be coding in the crippling mechanisms and adding an in-game store since they’ve already been “testing” this out with WoW, Diablo III and Hearthstone (don’t know about their other games since I don’t play them.)
    We already know about the in-game advertisements planned…

    • I think it’s likely that Titan will be free to play, but it’s extremely unlikely that that is the reason it’s being rebooted. Transitioning to free to play really doesn’t take that much work — look at how easy it is for established games to do so. A simple change like that wouldn’t involve reassigning most of the developers on the project or setting the release date back by several years.

      A change to free to play might be one of the reasons it’s being rebooted, but it can’t possibly be the only one.

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